Bob Franken


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You probably never thought of this because it’s so dopey, but that’s never stopped me. So let’s take a moment to ponder that the first two letters of the word “president” are “PR.” Dopey, but important, particularly with this president, who is the master of PR. Donald Trump has a talent for self-promotion that’s taken his facade to the highest level. He is a genius when it comes to seizing the center of attention, and particularly brilliant at manipulating the people around him — friend and foe alike.
Definitely in the foe department is Nancy Pelosi. She’s the long experienced and crafty leader of the House Democrats. She’s totally capable of flummoxing Republicans, so they’ve wasted no opportunity to turnher into their major villain. That has rubbed off on some of the House Democrats, mainly the more ambitious young Turks who have roared into the majority, due in great measure to the shrewd campaign engineered by, wait for it, Nancy Pelosi.
She would expect, in any other environment, to be a natural choice to rise again to Speaker of the House, where she served effectively the last time her party was in charge. “Ingrate,” however, is synonymous with “politician,” and some of the newbies are showing quite an aptitude for that. The result is she’s involved in an intense battle to drown the sharks in her own school circling around her in the murky waters of the Washington swamp.

Donald Trump is doing what he can to help do her in. She would be a formidable enemy as House speaker. And yes, “enemy” is the appropriate word these days. So how is The Donald trying to discredit The Nancy? With compliments, of course. He knows full well that any smooch from him is a kiss of death for her. That explains all the flattering tweets about her. Typical was this bit of sarcasm:
“In all fairness, Nancy Pelosi deserves to be chosen Speaker of the House by the Democrats. If they give her a hard time, perhaps we will add some Republican votes.” Her response to his offer of help from the GOP? “Oh, please, no, never, never.” That was her public reaction. The private one was probably just two words. She knows full well that Trump’s approach to partisan gaps is to construct a troll bridge.
That silly little gamesmanship could also explain the nonstop trash-talking between the Trumpster and CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta. In my opinion, it’s a fake fracas. By all appearances, the two of them have worked a deal where Donald Trump has agreed to make Jim Acosta a big star. Why else would the president of the United States take such a drastic action as to order Acosta’s hard pass pulled, knowing full well it would end up in court and take Acosta’s name to stratospheric heights? Surely he knew he’d lose a lawsuit, even though he had nominated the judge. In fact, if one were really conspiratorial one could believe that the judge was in on it. To continue the charade, the White House announced that it would take Acosta’s pass after the judge’s temporary ruling to return it expires in two weeks. But then they dropped the whole thing, perhaps because Trump decided it was all getting boring.
Besides, he also might have to pay attention to a possible secret deal with Congressman Adam Schiff, the Democrat who is soon to take over the House Intelligence Committee. Schiff has been a relentless critic, and Trump has tweeted many insults aimed at “Liddle Adam Schiff.” However, to keep up interest, as in “how low can he go” interest, he’s now referring to Schiff — and you might want to shield the kiddies’ eyes — as “Little Adam Schitt.” Yes, you read that right.
It’s hard to tell if Trump is in cahoots with Congressman Schitt. But it’s easy to conclude that all his PR bluster is a coverup, because it’s Donald Trump who is really the little man, a scared little man.

(c) 2018 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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